The Foundation of Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP) gathered over 36 million zlotys during this year finale. The money will be spent on maintaining highest standards in the treatment of children in pediatric and oncology wards, as well as providing decent healthcare for the elderly. The Finale of Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity has been held for the 23th time. The ultimate financial result of this year finale will be known within a few weeks – the local staffs should settle accounts with the main office until the end of February. For the third time, the WOŚP Grand Finale has been organized also by Poles in Vilnius. They made a modest contribution to this event, which bears more symbolical meaning there.
The staff in Vilnius had its office in the House of Polish Culture. The event was the most attractive for children. Anna Pawiłowicz-Janczys, a pedagogue, conducted educational workshop, during which children could learn Polish, Russian, Lithuanian and English on the basis of the modern version of a reading primer. There were also a board game corner and Young Explorers’ Club. On the stage, there performed the following singers and bands: the ‘Wiosna’ (‘Spirng’) band from Grygajcie near Vilnius, the ‘Nowe Wilno’ (‘New Vilnius’) band; Monika Rynkiewicz, a singer; the ‘Serduszka’ (‘Hearts’) band from Lazdynai High School in Vilnius and the drummers from the ‘Samba Vilnius’ band.
The people who were engaged the most in the organization of the WOŚP Grand Finale were the teachers from the Native Subjects School Point (Szkolny Punkt Przedmiotów Ojczystych) in Vilnius. ‘I think that while living in Vilnius we should engage in such a beautiful idea as WOŚP is. This is an occasion to meet up, entertain and, above all, raise money’ said Piotr Boroń, a history teacher in the Native Subjects School Point.
Jarosław Czubiński, the ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Lithuania, highlighted during the interview with Wilnoteka.lt that he supported WOŚP together with his family since the first Grand Finale. ‘At first, we treated this event as a kind of entertainment, but later on, when we read information about money gathered, medical devices and equipment bought, we started to consider the Orchestra seriously. By a coincidence, our family had to use the equipment purchased by the Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity. And when we saw that hearts were stuck to many devices in a hospital, we appreciated the good will of people who devote their money, time, sometimes their own health, while raising money on streets covered with snow’ said Jarosław Czubiński.
Artūras Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius, also joined the event: he gave his donation to volunteers raising money and watched the performance of the school band ‘Serduszka’, mentioned above. ‘I am amazed by this great tradition, which unites Poles all over the world: they have been raising money to support people in need for 23 years. By this event, Poles show that they are one nation, regardless of the place of residence. This is a brilliant idea and it is pitiful that we, Lithuanians, do not have such a powerful event’, he said. He also emphasised that he liked a lot the performance of Monika Rynkiewicz.
The sum of money gathered in the House of Polish Culture in Vilnius seems to be symbolical: about 1 000 euro. The ultimate result will be known on Wednesday, the 14th of January, as money were raised also in a few Polish schools. However, Jacek Jan Komar, the leader of the WOŚP staff in Vilnius, emphasised that the main objective of organizers was to express solidarity of local Poles with their compatriots in Poland rather than to raise money. The Grand Finale was held in Vilnius virtually without any financial contribution, only thanks to the effort of people of good will. The bands which performed declared their participation for free, without any preceding negotiations. ‘In Vilnius, there were held a few charity events during the Christmas season, so we had a wide competition. That is why we are even more grateful to people who came and decided to support financially the needy people in Poland. We really appreciate this’, said Jacek Jan Komar.
Tłumaczenie by Joanna Stępińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Joanna Stępińska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.